<i>Professor</i> <i>Penguin</i>
<i>Professor</i> <i>Penguin</i>
  • Banner Photo by Lloyd Spencer Davis 0

Professor Penguin

I don’t know exactly when it occurred. It’s not like there was ever a morning when I woke up with it, as if it were a tooth that hadn’t been there the night before. It developed slowly, like manhood, so that by the time I recognized it, it had already been there for as long as I could remember. The year was 1975 – I was 21, more man than boy – when I announced to the world that my lifelong ambition was to go to Antarctica.
Professor Penguin

Professor Penguin: discovery and adventure with penguins

The story of Professor Penguin starts with Lloyd as a carefree young bachelor pursuing his lifelong ambition to go to Antarctica. Over the course of the next three-and-a-half decades, Davis studies the fate of that penguin he first encounters and others like it. He ponders how the penguins get to the colony and find a nest site, how they find a mate, find food, escape predators and rear their chicks. He is fascinated by the great journeys they must make, the hardships they must endure, and he marvels at their survival.

This book is first and foremost a record of research, a compendium of what we know about penguins and how that knowledge has been advanced over the years. It is also part memoir: Davis’ recollections of more than three decades as a field biologist in one of the most inhospitable regions on Earth. Through all of this there runs a kind of ethos – a philosophy – that while unspoken is clearly there on every page: that the more we learn about the lives of other creatures like penguins, the more they can inform us about our own lives.

Published by Penguin Random House in 2014. More information can be obtained from the website: www.profpenguin.com
I have been studying penguins for the better part of my life. How I came to be so involved with penguins was largely an accident. But once that accident occurred, it changed my perspective on life. I came to be consumed by the questions and conundrums that penguins pose.
Professor Penguin
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Davis brilliantly intertwines animal fact with humorous anecdotes of his time spent observing penguins. In fact, in some cases one could be forgiven for thinking they were reading a comedy script for some upcoming movie. The author’s candid and matter of fact way of reporting ice bound hi-jinks make for very entertaining reading. Entertaining, as well as enlightening, as you get a clear picture of the very human nature of both the birds and the people watching them.
Drew Thompson, NZ Book Lovers

[Professor Penguin] balances a plethora of research with anecdotes based on journals he has kept in a career spanning more than 35 years. Scientific rigour might have required Davis to maintain a dispassionate distance from his subject at times, but the story-teller in him (he is, after all, also a film-maker and director of the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago) cannot help but join a few narrative dots as well as revel in nature's nuances.
Simon Gilchrist, Otago Daily Times

[Penguins] They’re lovable, cute and raise caring families with their mate for life, right? Wrong. A new book by author and biologist Lloyd Spencer Davis — known as Professor Penguin — busts the box-office myths.
Herald on Sunday

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